A Love Like No Other by Trish

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not too long ago celebrated or time set aside for showing affection and love towards those we have relationship with; be it a romantic love, family love or friendship love.  My husband is of the persuasion we should celebrate love every day and not glamorize or commercialize one day of an entire year to be loving. Me, I’m the typical gal who loves the idea of having a day of intentional focus and showering affection on those dear to our heart. Neither of us are wrong in our approach to February 14th, we all see Valentine’s Day differently.   But what I did take note of this year is what a difference this day is for me now that I am with someone. While I appreciate the cards, flowers and gifts from my husband, I still find that no matter how much he showers me with such gifts, there is still no love like the love of Jesus. I think back to the days when I was single and I so longed to have someone to share February 14th with and all the while I had a Savior who gave His life to spend all my days with. Too often we set our sights on what the world sees as fulfilling and gratifying, but the truth of the matter is there is only one love that can satisfy the longing of our heart.

As we continue to move forward in 2018 I would like to encourage you ladies to be mindful of the love of Christ. He greets you every morning with His presence and watches over you throughout your day waiting for the chance to spend time with you and talk with you. He guides your path and protects you from dangers seen and unseen. He makes provision for your every need and delights to give you the desires of your heart.  By all means, celebrate the relationships God has blessed your life with and honor love shared with the people in your life but above all else, appreciate the greatest love of all, the love of Jesus Christ.

Photo Credit:ID 44549304 © Paultarasenko | Dreamstime.com

Be Present With Your Love by Sonya

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The upcoming Valentine’s Day has me thinking about how I can better love my spouse. God put it on my heart to be more present.  We have a busy life with four kids and carving out time to go on dates can be hard. However, being present is key in the way we interact with our spouses. I look at all aspects of our relationship and I’m more aware that connecting with my husband will allow him to feel more loved by me. It is in the little things like when he calls me.  Am I focused on the conversation or am I distracted? My husband knows when I am not fully listening to him on and off the phone. In order to affirm that I am listening on the phone, I ask questions or repeat what he just said to make sure I understand.   Eye contact is the key in person and truly giving him your attention by turning off the television and phone, or going in another room where your kids can’t distract you. Giving of your time and listening well allows you to be present in the moment with your love/valentine. Our spouses deserve to be loved well and if we can’t give them our time and focus, then we are missing out on a deeper relationship that we can have with them! My husband does a great job at loving me well.  For Valentine’s Day he makes a homemade dinner and we stay at home and just be together. He shows me he is present by making himself available and carving that time out. It is not complex, but a simple gesture to just spend time with your sweetie and it doesn’t have to cost to be present with your love. I challenge you this Valentine’s Day to take a break from the busyness and spend time with the ones you love.  You will never regret being present in their lives!

Photo Credit:  ID 82818616 © Viacheslav Iacobchuk | Dreamstime.com

You’re Better For It by Kenika

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Acts 20:35

“In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

I love this verse because it’s promotes generosity.  It displays Christ’s purest desire to give rather than to receive.  It highlights the needs of the weak and the poor yes, but you can also take on this attitude in many aspects of life.  Other versions say, “It’s better to give than to receive.” To the truly selfish person that may sound perplexing.  Surely receiving is more enjoyable!  I’ve managed to learn over the years, however, the joy that is attached to giving.  One of my love languages is Gifts.  Which means I express love through giving gifts, and I also interpret or receive love through gifts.  When I was younger I think I much preferred getting a gift. Now that I’m older and more experienced, the joy for giving gifts has far surpassed the happiness of receiving one.  The look on a person’s face when they behold what I have spent time and money on to give to them is truly a delight to me.

“It is more blessed to give – It is a higher privilege; it tends more to the happiness of the individual and of the world. The giver is more blessed or happy than the receiver.” (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible)

It is a higher privilege indeed to be in the position to give. Think about that for a moment.  Think of how impacted you were when someone reached out to meet your need. What a blessing to be in the seat of the giver at a later turn in life.  This verse isn’t talking about physical gifts alone, but also about meeting the needs of the disenfranchised.  Maybe you were the person in need for a long time and now you are stabilized.  The best way to honor those who helped you is to help others.  People need food, shelter, community, a friend, a prayer partner, and the list goes on and on.  Sometimes in the “name it and claim it” circles of ministry believers are consumed with trying to get their needs, wants and desires met, and they neglect the needs of the weak.  I’m all for a strong prayer life, and humbly asking God to grant you what you need, all I’m saying is that the bigger blessing is in giving.  Don’t believe me? Well, Jesus said so.

Let’s hit the pause button on some of our typical requests and instead maybe ask the Lord to show us ways that we can grant requests. Let’s ask God to point us in the direction of opportunities where we can be the better for giving to those in need.  It’s the higher privilege that will leave you more blessed and happy than those you choose to look out for.

 

Photo Credit:ID 60458032 © Stefan Dahl Langstrup | Dreamstime.com

The Marriage Journey by Trish

 

 

 

It’s hard to believe it has been almost one year since saying, “I Do.”  People always say that the years go by so quickly and I can attest to how true this statement is. It seems like just yesterday we were planning the day, crafting all of the DIY projects, selecting cupcake flavors and counting down the days to June 25th.

It’s amazing how so much time can be spent planning one day when the reality is, the majority of the effort and energy deserves to be spent on planning the marriage itself.

Needless to say, being married to my true best friend has been one of the greatest gifts I could have ever been given yet this new season has pushed me to grow in more ways than I ever thought possible. Transition alone is challenging, but when combined with the loss of a loved one, it can intensify the process of change and the emotions that come with it. However, in the midst of change, loss and dealing with grief, while also celebrating a new season of life, I can say that God’s timing is so perfect.  He knew what and whom I needed at such a pivotal time in my life.

Looking back at the past 12 months I wanted to highlight some of the lessons I’ve learned that have meant the most to me. If you’re married I encourage you to do the same, list all of the ways your spouse has been a blessing to your life and how you’ve grown because of them. If you’re single and desire to be married, I hope there is something highlighted in the words penned that will encourage you, as you believe in faith for your spouse!

1)     It’s not about me

Prior to getting married I read so many books on the preparation process and countless articles on being the Proverbs 31 woman and so on. While I HIGHLY encourage pre-marital council and resources, the truth of the matter is, the crash course of learning will only come when you are united as one. I thought I could just enter into marriage and “suddenly” we would become one.  Ha-ha! Not exactly the case. Becoming one is a process of combining the best and worst of you are, all of it! All the while you have to trust God to shape you into what He desires for your new life as a couple.

This gal right here was 37 years old when she got married and had a lot of UN-learning to do and I still yet more to do. Having been single for so long I developed a pattern of life that worked for me but marriage involves two and there is no room for selfishness in marriage. The balance to this is to prefer one another while not losing yourself in the process. Being married doesn’t mean you lose your voice, but rather you have another one to blend with. A duet is beautiful when both parties know their notes and combine them in harmony.

2)     God First Now and Always

At the very core of your marriage and your home should be Jesus. At our ceremony we played “Jesus At The Center of It All” during Communion and that really was the desire of my heart for our marriage. Whenever there is an absence of peace in our home I can always trace it back to an area where we’ve not made Jesus the priority in our decision-making. As for me, it’s usually when I respond in a selfish way and have chosen to not pray about it first. There’s a saying that states anything without a head would be considered a monster. If Jesus is not the head of the household, it makes for a scary scenario within the home.

3)     Our Lives Are To Be An Example

This life is not about perfection but as believers it does require us to do our best to set an example. God’s first establishment on the earth was a marriage and then a family. The marriage covenant is to be a reflection of Christ’s love for His bride, the Church. Our lives should indicate who and what we live for. The most important set of eyes watching besides God is a precious young lady within our home who I have the honor of calling daughter. The weight of being an example to and for her is heavy. It is our responsibility to her to show God’s love demonstrated in our home. Is it always on target? No. But I ask God for wisdom in the areas where I’m still learning and grace to make up the difference where I or we have fallen short.

4)     Friendship First

Before I got married and believed God for my spouse, my sister told me, “Marry your friend. There will be times in your marriage that you will be angry at your spouse but you’ll be able to work through it because he is your true friend.” I’ve never forgotten those words. Sometimes I look at Marc and in my heart, I whisper, “God, thank you for my friend.” I choke up when I think about this because the Bible tells us that a friend loves at ALL times. My husband has seen the best of me and over the course of these 12 months at such a tender time in my life he’s seen the very worst of me and loved me just the same.

The existence of my love for Marc grew from a seed of such pure friendship and from the overflow of that seed I now have a marriage I’m so grateful for.

5)     Letting Go Of “How It Should Be”

When entering the first year of marriage there is often an expectation of how it should go and what it should look like. What I expected looked nothing like what I was experiencing. During the holidays when you’re supposed to be your happiest planning the first Thanksgiving, the first Christmas, the first New Year’s I was dealing with grief and doing my best to just keep a smile on my face and not burst into tears at any given moment.

I was bombarded by people with the sweetest of intentions asking if I was excited for my “first” of anything holiday related even through Valentine’s Day as a newlywed. I would politely smile but cry on the inside and then honestly I resented the fact that I didn’t feel that excitement like I had expected I would. The answer was no, I was not excited I was hurting. It’s okay to say that.  It doesn’t make me less of a Christian it simply shows my need of God’s healing power and His loving care in all seasons of life.

Letting go of how I thought things should be or expectations allowed me to see God’s faithfulness to me and repositioned my focus on all He has provided. I remembered the beauty of Mom’s transition, the souls she pointed to Christ, the fact I was able to be with her and the peace she had! I remembered how God granted her the ability to be present for my wedding and she witnessed one of her prayers fulfilled. I remembered that I wasn’t alone…God gave me a partner to share this season with.

I realized the fairytale of marriage doesn’t come in a box that you unwrap the minute you say, “I do.” This so called “fairytale,” which I like to refer to as a testimony rather, is the journey you create along the way by allowing God to write your story.

Letting go of what “should be” gave God the room necessary for His will to be accomplished.

6)     Keep It Simple

The greatest of joys in our marriage are moments we steal from the schedule to go get coffee or watch “This Is Us.” There are times that should include special celebrations and date nights but keeping it simple has afforded us the opportunity to focus on what’s really important, each other. One night my husband randomly asked me if I wanted to get coffee.  My reply is always a yes when it pertains to coffee. As we drove around in his truck drinking coffee we saw fireworks on the way home and he joked saying this was his plan all along, that the firework show was planned just for us on the way home. I’m pretty sure Disney didn’t plan their firework show around our impromptu date but I’ll let him have the points and take the credit. This may have been one of my best moments as a wife. Nothing fancy, just coffee, a truck and us (oh yeah… and the fireworks he planned).

There are more lessons to be learned and I’m sure I’ll have plenty of opportunity to share. There was a time I prayed for what I have today. God is faithful in all walks of life and answered prayers never eliminate the need for Him, it just brings about new areas for us to stretch our faith for and allow His faithfulness to shine!

PS- Happy 1st Anniversary, Mr. Williams- I’m honored to be your Mrs.

Photo Credit: Omar Galarza June 2016